I missed the Corner for the past three weeks while circumnavigating the globe for a series of conferences in Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Beijing. I should have thanked my Chinese hosts for inspiring me to leave my computer at home, but it did leave me feeling rather cut off from everything. Whether in China or Singapore or Turkey, America was much the topic du jour. That may have been because I was American, but more so because everyone I talked with seemed genuinely fascinated with the level of dysfunction in Washington, the specter of a seemingly irrevocable economic decline, and the question of whether Americans would really toss Barack Obama out of office. They seemed shocked we would actually be contemplating such a move, and yet when I scratched a bit, they all acknowledged the failure of his policies. They just can’t imagine us electing a Republican (not that anyone abroad that I met has a clue what Republican policies are or that they’re not all controlled by some Rovian supercomputer).
Anyway, it was a bit fun to travel around the world, though not nearly as harrowing as Phileas Fogg’s adventures. Except for the fried tarantula at a Beijing street market.